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The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land Paperback – 19 Jan 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Reissue edition (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849836884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849836883
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Thomas Asbridge is a Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary University in London, and an internationally renowned expert on the history of the Crusades. He has written and presented a major BBC TV series on the Crusades and a documentary on William Marshal. His acclaimed titles The First Crusade and The Crusades are also available from Simon & Schuster.

Review

'A dramatic and powerful look at both sides of the story' --Sunday Times

'Enthralling' --Literary Review

'Exhilarating' --Sunday Telegraph

'A taut, clear and exciting narrative, which also manages to convey the best of modern Crusader scholarship' --Diarmaid MacCulloch, Guardian

'Stunning' --Financial Times


Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book about a subject which is endlessly fascinating. I was always interested in learning more about the crusades yet was apprehensive about reading either a dry scholarly account which I would find too much too soon or a religious based discussion of the meaning of the crusades. This is the perfect introduction, I think, being well written and researched without descending into either religious dogma or dry unapproachable scholarship.

Gives the reader the full history of the crusades and the differing views of the participants and yet remains a great read that I found myself gripped by.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mythology, misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the crusades has had a huge impact on politics and culture the 20th and 21st centuries. The plethora of names, of people and places, and lack of good maps (at least in the Kindle edition) sometimes makes it seem hard going, but take in the bigger picture and then debunk those who indiscriminately refer to crusades and jihad as justifying their twisted politics today.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A brilliant book. This book is an enthralling account of a critical period in history that reads as well as any novel whilst still providing good historical analysis. This book is suitable for anyone interested in the crusades, whether you have never read about the crusades or if you know quite a lot already. It has helped me out a lot during the course of my degree and I'm sure it will in the future.

Cannot recommend highly enough. a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this initially from the Library and thoroughly enjoyed it so bought my own copy and intend to re-read in the future. Not easy in parts.Place names/character names needed to be learnt but still a very good book by an author I had not read previously but is obviously on top of his game.
Would recommend highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good read
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found this to be an entertaining, well-written overview of the Crusades and the crusading movement, and a good follow-up to Asbridge's book on the First Crusade. I think Asbridge tries to look at the period through both Christian and Islamic eyes, with the politics of the Crusader and Arab states playing a key role in the development of the struggle fior the Holy Land. I particularly enjoyed the segments on Saladin and Baldwin the Leper. As well as politics, Asbridge takes a look as the social, economic and religious aspects of the period. I found it striking that trade links between the West and East continued despite (or inspite of) the conflicts over the Crusader States. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This is a popular introduction to the Crusades that strikes a perfect balance between academic rigor and the expectations of a lay audience. It offers solid narrative and some analysis, while avoiding excessive proofs and obscure controversies. Best of all, it is simply fun to read and never unacceptably heavy.

The Crusades began as a kind of idealistic call to arms. When you look at it, the entire enterprise looks insanely impossible: a bunch of aristocrats, knights and their support infantries decide to travel to nearly the end of the world, to dislodge the far more numerous Muslims from Christian holy sites (Jerusalem, etc.) Against all odds, the first Crusade essentially lives up to its ideals, conquering a huge swath of territories and establishing independent kingdoms and Duchies in the mid east (largely in the territories of modern Syria and Israel). It is simply amazing that, virtually without supply support and lacking coherent leadership, they charged into battle with little plans and won. Many said it was God's will.

In a way it was colonial, but the author is at pains to prove that it was their ideals that drove them. He demonstrates the changes in theology required, including "just war" by Christians, but also promises of salvation from sin to varying degrees and under more or less clarified obligations. The twists of logic and the hypocrisy of land-hungry princes, I was convinced, were outweighed by their religious purpose. After all, what they wanted to do was far too ambitious, though to be fair they lacked clear and practical knowledge about the areas they were attacking; besides, God and the talisman of the "true cross" supported them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been interested in 'The Crusades' since I did a general studies course on the subject 40+ years ago (during my Physics degree, of all things!).

I don't propose saying anything more about the excellence of this book - the other 29 reviewers (so far) have said it all - absolutely excellent book about the Crusades!

What I would like to draw out is the fact that this book falls very neatly (and nicely!) between such relatively short introductory texts such as 'The Cross and the Crescent' by Malcolm Billings(*), and 'The Crusades' by Anthony Bridge(*) and more academic studies such as 'A History of the Crusades' by Steven Runcieman. It's a perfect general, but detailed introduction to the Crusades with a nice balance between academic rigour and entertaining anecdote. Wonderful!

(*) Both of these books are excellent in their own right.
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